Eric & Magill are Eric Osterman (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Ryan Weber (vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, bells). In June 2007, after completing the album World Travels Fast with his previous group, Decibully, Weber moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the Republic of Armenia for a year to volunteer as an audio design instructor. While there, he started an e-mail correspondence with his longtime friend and former Camden guitarist, Eric Osterman. Together they began writing songs over e-mail, and slowly started collaborating with other musician friends. The album, All Those I Know, features a number of notable indie rock musicians, as well as an Internet Choir comprised of over forty friends who sang into their computers from their respective locations. Weber is currently based in Kenya, and Osterman in Brooklyn.
Eric and Magill’s debut album, All Those I Know, is an example of the power of technology in the creation of art. The duo, Ryan Weber and Eric Osterman, were living in completely different parts of the world at the time (Weber in Armenia, and Osterman in the United States), and began sending their recordings via e-mail. This snowballed into involving as many of their friends as possible, ultimately leading to the creation of an Internet Choir comprised of over forty of their friends singing into their computers from around the world. The result is an album of gorgeously sweeping soundscapes, melding together so seamlessly that it’s hard to believe how it was created. Recently, Weber migrated to Kenya. We asked him to shed some light on what ultimately drove him there, and how the experience helped shape him, musically and personally. Read on for his story:
“For Eric and I music is something we would do regardless of what the backdrops to our lives are. It’s ingrained in us. Fortunately, technology allows us to be at work together from a distance so we go where we want, do what we will, and the band continues to work.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, I know living in rural North Western desert of Kenya now is seeping into me and thus will get into the recordings. From an artistic standpoint I find living and working in unfamiliar places inspirational, so with that in mind I suppose a pursuit for inspiration drives me to explore other corners of the world. I was living in Armenia for a good percentage of the time I spent working on All Those I Know. Being there really shaped the record and me personally. Where I live now can be shocking, usually for dreadful reasons that don’t belong in this interview, but it can be a tough place. I will say that before I came here I did not know how to slaughter and butcher a chicken. I take no joy in it, but it is something I’ve had to learn.
I think living and recording in unfamiliar or unpredictable conditions gives our records a certain authenticity and vibe that is otherwise elusive in a studio. I’d also like to think that since the recording process is engrained into our lives rather than something we take two weeks to go into a studio to do there is more soul and depth in our tracks, which is sometimes void on records. We’ve also got to make up for our limitations with inventive sounds or invite other artists to contribute tracks to our music.” -Ryan Weber, Eric and Magill.